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The retrospectroscope-the invention of the rechargeable cardiac pacemaker: vignette #9

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1 Author(s)
Fischell, R.E. ; Appl. Phys. Lab., Johns Hopkins Univ., Baltimore, MD, USA

The idea for a rechargeable cardiac pacemaker came to the author in the late 1960s after reading an advertisement stating that a company's batteries were so good they would last two years in a heart pacemaker. This meant that pacemaker patients would have to undergo surgery for their replacement frequently. Having worked on the development of hermetically sealed, nickel-cadmium batteries that could function for a decade or longer in an orbiting spacecraft, the author constructed the first prototype of a rechargeable cardiac pacemaker around 1968 to show cardiologists at Johns Hopkins Hospital that a pacemaker of indefinitely long life and much smaller size and weight could be built readily. The subsequent development and marketing of the device, which came on the market in 1973, is recounted

Published in:

Engineering in Medicine and Biology Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:9 ,  Issue: 2 )